Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 144,279 pages of information and 230,174 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
Nicolas-Jacques Conté (1755-1805) was a French engineer, scientist, and inventor.
Conté invented the modern pencil lead at a time when the French Republic was under economic blockade and unable to import graphite from Britain. Lazare Nicolas Marguerite Carnot asked Conté to create a pencil that did not rely on imported material. After several days of research, Conté had the idea of mixing powdered graphite with clay and pressing the material between two half-cylinders of wood. He received a patent for the invention in 1795, and formed la Société Conté to make them. He also invented the conté crayon. 
The Musée des Arts et Métiershave on display a from of dividing engine used for engraving series of accurately-space lines on printing plates, made in 1794 (Inv.3054)